WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – The UNCG pitching staff of Austin Koehn, Maddux Holshouser, Corey Jackson and Chad Sykes combined for 10 strikeouts and allowed Wake Forest to 11 hits, but it was a 10th-inning bases-loaded single off the bat of Patrick Frick that helped the Demon Deacons to earn the 2-1 victory on Tuesday night at David F. Couch Ballpark.
Koehn, making his second start of the season, struck out four Demon Deacon hitters while allowing four hits, two walks and one run over five innings of work. He gave way to Holshouser, who surrendered one hit and one walk to the two batters he faced.
Jackson, the third UNCG (3-3) pitcher to take the mound, tossed the next 1.2 innings and allowed two walks while converting two strikeouts along the way. Sykes (0-1) spent the next 2.2 innings on the mound for the Spartans, allowing six hits and one run while striking out four Wake Forest batters.
“Austin (Koehn) had another great start,” said head coach Link Jarrett. “He had command of the fastball to both sides of the plate. His breaking ball was even better today than it was in his last start (vs. High Point). Chad (Sykes) came in and had one of his most extensive outings that he’s had ever today. He has worked very hard and he is in good physical condition to go out and do that and it is unfortunate that it had to end the way that it did for him being the way that he pitched.
While the UNCG defense limited Wake Forest three hits over the first five complete, the offense was unable to find its way in the contest. The Spartan offense was led by Ryan Caveness (2-4, run) and David Flores (1-3, RBI) on the evening.
“Offensively, we just didn’t have many opportunities to do anything today,” added Jarrett. “They threw two good left-handed arms and their closer (Antonio Menendez) is really tough. You don’t get many opportunities, but you tip your hat to the way that they executed on defense and the way they pitched.
“We had good at bats sporadically, but it wasn’t enough to consistently put pressure on them and force them to do some things within our playbook,” said Jarrett. “We never really got into our playbook enough to do anything. We tried to squeeze, later in the game, and it might have been the one pitch that the guy threw that was out of the zone and it didn’t work. It wasn’t in the cards tonight, but it was a high-level game and I tip my hat to them and the way they pitched. We matched them pitch-for-pitch for a while, but we have to generate a little more offensively.”
UNCG put the first run of the game across in the top of the second when Caveness sent a 3-2 pitch up the middle for the first hit by either team. Josh Madole moved Caveness to second, after being hit by a pitch, ahead of a Zach Kuchmaner walk that loaded the bases. Flores followed with a sacrifice fly to left field, scoring Caveness in the process, but Madole was throw out on a relay throw to third base.
The Spartan defensive and pitching staff kept Wake Forest scoreless until the bottom of the sixth when Jake Mueller opened the frame with a single to left. Michael Ludowig drew a six-pitch walk to move Mueller to second before a Bobby Seymour single through the right side of the infield knotted the game at one-all.
UNCG limited the Demon Deacons to just two hits between the seventh and ninth innings, but a leadoff to single to right by Ludowig started things off. Bobby Seymour followed with a single to left and Chris Lanzilli loaded the bases with a single through the right side of the infield. After a strikeout by pinch hitter Brendan Tinsman, Frick followed with the walk-off single up the middle.
Menendez earned the victory for Wake Forest after tossing three innings, allowing one hit and striking out three hitters in that stretch.
The Spartans will host Penn for a three-game series beginning on Friday, March 1, at 4 p.m.